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Boris Johnson in intensive care, U.S. death toll tops 10,000

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: UNLV Medicine Nearing Point Of Running Out Of Coronavirus Testing Kits
From left, certified medical assistants Lakietha Flourney, Yatziri Perez and Evelyn Laolagi conduct tests for COVID-19 at a drive-up testing station in the parking lot of UNLV Medicine in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 6, 2020.Ethan Miller / Getty Images

The number of deaths in the U.S. topped 10,700 by Monday night, according to NBC News' tally.

The rising toll comes as Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious diseases expert, said Sunday that the U.S. is "struggling" to get the coronavirus outbreak under control. The number of confirmed cases in the U.S. has passed 337,000. Globally, the number of deaths has topped 70,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.

In the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson was taken into an intensive care unit for coronavirus, his office announced Monday. He had tested positive in March and was hospitalized Sunday for exhibiting symptoms for more than 10 days.

Meanwhile, an internal government watchdog report released Monday said that hospitals across the country face dire shortages of vital medical equipment — including testing kits and thermometers.

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Civil rights group, medical professionals demand federal racial data on coronavirus victims

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law sent a letter signed by 400 medical professionals to the Trump administration on Monday demanding the release of racial data related to coronavirus cases and deaths. 

The group sent the letter to the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, calling for the release of data related to testing, cases and outcomes related to race and ethnicity because of growing concerns of the infection rate in black communities. 

“We are deeply concerned that African American communities are being hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, and that racial bias may be impacting the access they receive to testing and health care,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the civil rights group. "To fully confront this pandemic, we must ensure that communities of color receive equitable health care and treatment during this crisis."

The CDC is not currently publicly reporting racial data for coronavirus cases or tests performed across the country, but some state and local governments have released data. 

In Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, as of April 6, African Americans made up 46 percent of the country's 1,270 coronavirus cases, while only 27 percent of the population. Black residents are also among the hardest hit in areas such as Washington, D.C, and Illinois.

Tyson Foods suspends operations at Iowa plant

Tyson Foods has suspended operations at its pork plant in Columbus Junction, Iowa, after more than two dozen workers tested positive for COVID-19, the company announced Monday.

This suspension, along with worker absenteeism and other worker safety precautions such as social distancing, have slowed production across the company’s meat and poultry plants, the company's chief executive Noel White said in a statement.

“We’re working hard to protect our team members during this ever-changing situation, while also ensuring we continue fulfilling our critical role of helping feed people across the country,” White said. The company has been taking workers’ temperatures before their shifts and deep cleaning and sanitizing parts of the plant including employee break and locker rooms, he added.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson transferred to intensive care unit

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is battling the coronavirus, has been transferred to the intensive care unit at a London hospital after his symptoms worsened, his office said in a statement Monday.

"The PM has asked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is the First Secretary of State, to deputise for him where necessary," Johnson's office said. "The PM is receiving excellent care, and thanks all NHS staff for their hard work and dedication."

Trump approves Cuomo request to have Navy hospital ship take coronavirus patients

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday asked President Donald Trump if the Comfort, a 1,000-bed Navy hospital ship now docked in New York City, could be shifted to take patients suffering from COVID-19, the disease associated with coronavirus.

The ship, brought to New York City to free up much-needed hospital space for infected patients, had previously been reserved for non-virus patients. The Comfort had only 20 patients as of Thursday night. 

"As it turned out, there's not a lot of non-COVID people in the hospital system, which is a separate story," Cuomo said. "A byproduct of shutting everything down is you have fewer car accidents, crime rate is way down, fewer trauma cases, so there is not a large non-COVID population in the hospitals." 

Cuomo said later Monday on MSNBC that Trump agreed to the request. The governor said the move adds 1,000 beds to the fight against the disease, which will hopefully alleviate some of the stress on the state's healthcare system.

Cuomo also said schools and non-essential businesses would remain closed through at least April 29 and that the fine for those who violated restrictions on social distancing would increase, from $500 to $1,000.

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U.S. Army places temporary hold on sending new recruits to basic training

The U.S. Army has paused the movement of future U.S. soldiers to basic combat training, the department announced Monday.

"This tactical pause will allow commands to ensure appropriate safety measures are in place and are operating effectively at training installations," the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, which oversees training of Army recruits, said in a statement.

The pause does not affect recruits currently in basic training. They will continue under screening and monitoring guidelines established in March, and proceed to their next assignment upon graduation. Current protocols include "social-distanced-enabled training" and reduced movement of trainees.

"The decision to pause the shipment of trainees to [Basic Combat Training] for two weeks will allow leaders to focus on setting conditions so movement can be conducted in a safer manner in the future,” said Gen. Paul Funk, II, head of the Command.

Wisconsin Gov. Evers suspends in-person voting for Tuesday primary amid coronavirus concerns

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on Monday signed an executive order suspending all in-person voting for Tuesday's primary and moved the date of the election to June 9 amid concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

The order also convenes the state legislature for a special session on Tuesday to deal with the issue.

“Today, I signed an executive order suspending in-person voting for tomorrow’s election,” Evers said in a statement. “Frankly, there’s no good answer to this problem — I wish it were easy.”

“As municipalities are consolidating polling locations, and absent legislative or court action, I cannot in good conscience stand by and do nothing. The bottom line is that I have an obligation to keep people safe, and that’s why I signed this executive order today,” he added.

Read the full story here.

More than 16,000 dead in Italy

Image: Doctors treat a COVID-19 patient in an intensive care unit at a hospital in Rome on March 26, 2020.
Doctors treat a COVID-19 patient in an intensive care unit at a hospital in Rome on March 26, 2020.Antonio Masiello / Getty Images file

Italy reached another grim milestone in the pandemic as more than 16,000 people there have now died from COVID-19, the disease associated with coronavirus.

The official death toll was listed at 16,523, officials said Monday, a spike of 636 fatalities from Sunday night's reported total of 15,887. No nation has been hit harder by COVID-19 deaths than Italy. 

There have been at least 132,547 positive coronavirus cases, Italian officials said Monday, an increase from 128,848 a day earlier.

 

New York rabbi: 'We can be many faiths during this week, but we are one family'

Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, the executive vice president of the New York Board of Rabbis, spoke about the challenges of safely continuing religious practice amid the coronavirus outbreak in a Monday interview with Craig Melvin on MSNBC.

"It's really a time of contradiction," Rabbi Potasnik said. "We say let everyone enter, when it comes to our house of worship, and the doors are locked."

In the days leading up to Passover and Easter, Rabbi Potasnik encouraged people to practice in ways that are safe, such as turning to online services, and encouraged unity during tough times. 

"We can be many faiths during this week but we are one family and I think when this is over there's going to be a recognition that we need each other, face to face," he said.

Top Trump aide says Fauci's caution on possible coronavirus treatment warrants a 'second opinion'

President Donald Trump's top trade adviser Peter Navarro said Monday that Dr. Anthony Fauci's caution about the effectiveness of an anti-malaria drug that the president has been urging as a treatment for coronavirus warrants a "second opinion."

Asked about an Axios report that he and Fauci got into a heated argument about the drug during a coronavirus task force meeting on Saturday, Navarro told CNN, "There was that discussion on Saturday, and if we didn't have disagreement and debate in the Trump administration, this administration would not be as strong as it is."

A source told Axios the dispute started when Navarro said the studies he'd seen on the effects of the drug, hydroxychloroquine, show "clear therapeutic efficacy." Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Navarro there's only anecdotal evidence, leading Navarro to angrily declare the studies he'd seen are "science, not anecdote."

Read the full story here.

California to loan 500 ventilators to hard-hit New York

California is loaning 500 ventilators to the national stockpile to help hard-hit states like New York treat critically ill coronavirus patients, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Monday.

“We still have a long road ahead of us in the Golden State — and we’re aggressively preparing for a surge — but we can’t turn our back on Americans whose lives depend on having a ventilator now," Newsom said in a statement. "I know that if the tables were turned and we were experiencing a hospital surge, other states would come to our aid and provide ventilators just as we are today.”

New York has the most coronavirus cases of any state, with more than 130,000 confirmed as of Monday. While the total number of daily patients admitted to intensive care units has dipped in recent days, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has warned the state could run out of ventilators to treat patients whose respiratory symptoms have advanced past the point of being able to breathe on their own.

Photo: Sanitizing shoppers in Albania

Image: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Tirana
A woman passes through a disinfection tunnel before entering a market, as authorities take measures to stop the spread of coronavirus, in Tirana on Monday.Florion Goga / Reuters

Billie Eilish, Lizzo and other stars to perform in globally televised concert to support health care workers

Broadcast TV networks are collaborating to air an unprecedented, globally televised fundraiser to celebrate and support health care workers on the front lines of the battle against coronavirus, the World Health Organization and Global Citizen announced on Monday. 

The special, “One World: Together at Home,” will air on April 18 at 8 p.m. ET and will feature musicians alongside health care workers from around the globe discussing their experiences.

"Through music, entertainment and impact, the global live-cast will celebrate those who risk their own health to safeguard everyone else’s,” Hugh Evans, co-founder and CEO of Global Citizen, said in a statement Monday.

Three late-night comics — Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert — will helm the event, along with characters from "Sesame Street."

The star-studded event will feature a long list of musical artists, including Elton John, Keith Urban, Andrea Bocelli, Billie Eilish, Lizzo and Paul McCartney.

The show will be broadcast by ABC, NBC, CBS and radio operator iHeart Media. It will be streamed on various platforms, including Amazon Prime Video, Apple, Instagram, and YouTube.

Trump, Biden trade barbs over possible virtual Democratic convention

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden traded shots Monday over the possibility that Democrats could hold a virtual convention this summer due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Joe Biden wanted the date for the Democrat National Convention moved to a later time period. Now he wants a ‘Virtual’ Convention, one where he doesn’t have to show up. Gee, I wonder why?” Trump tweeted Monday afternoon.

Biden hit back moments later.

“Mr. President, I hope we can gather in Milwaukee, but that is going to depend on you stepping up and doing what needs to be done to handle this pandemic,” he tweeted. "I have laid out how you can do that.”

Read the full story here.

Fact check: Trump doubles down on unproven hydroxychloroquine claims

Trump spent much of his Sunday night coronavirus briefing boasting about the potential use of hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug, as a COVID-19 treatment.

When the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, was asked about the drug, which has not been proven as an effective treatment for COVID-19, on Sunday night, Trump intervened: “I’ve answered that question — maybe 15 times. You don’t have to answer."

“There’s signs it works on this — very strong signs,” the president said. “I’ve seen things that I sort of like. What do I know, I’m not a doctor, I’m not a doctor, but I have common sense. The FDA feels good about it. As you know they’ve approved it — they gave it rapid approval.”

This isn’t true: The FDA has not approved a proven treatment for COVID-19. Read our fact check here.

Cuomo says New York state may be seeing 'possible flattening of the curve'

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday said the curve of the coronavirus outbreak in New York state may be flattening.

Cuomo said that 599 more people had died in the state, a number similar with that of the previous day. The total number of deaths is 4,758.

"The possible flattening of the curve is better than the increases we have seen," Cuomo said. "New York is still far and away the most impacted state."

The total number of hospitalizations, patients who were admitted to intensive care units and daily intubations are all down, Cuomo said. 

"The big question that we're looking at now is what is the curve?" Cuomo said. 

The Masters eyes November for rescheduled tournament

Claim that bodies would end up in NYC parks gets swift pushback from officials

Mark D. Levine, the chair of the New York City Council health committee, received swift pushback on Monday when he said that city parks would likely "soon" be used as temporary burial sites for the dead when cemeteries got overwhelmed with bodies. 

Levine wrote on Twitter that trenches in parks "will be dug for 10 caskets in a line."

"It will be done in a dignified, orderly — and temporary — manner. But it will be tough for NYers to take," he further detailed. "The goal is to avoid scenes like those in Italy, where the military was forced to collect bodies from churches and even off the streets."

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner quickly clarified that sending bodies to parks is a scenario in a prepared disaster plan, but not currently being considered as the city grapples with a massive wave of coronavirus cases. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo answered a question about the supposed plan by telling reporters during his Monday news conference that he had heard nothing about it, though he said he had "heard a lot of wild rumors."

Spokespeople for Mayor Bill de Blasio's office said the city was nowhere near the point where burials in parks would occur. De Blasio said earlier in the day that the place that would be relied on for mass burials would be Hart Island in the Bronx.

The city has the ability to accommodate 19,000 dead people at Hart Island. That capacity would have to be exceeded before parks would be considered for caskets. 

This plan was finalized in 2008 and is part of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner's plan for pandemic influenza outbreaks. Currently, New York City's daily death rate is far below the “maximum scenario” the plan was designed to handle. 

The plan assumes no federal assistance when it comes to handling the dead, predicting that a pandemic "is likely to affect the entire country and limited federal assets may be allocated to other areas.” 

Levine later clarified that using parks for burials "is a contingency NYC is preparing for BUT if the death rate drops enough it will not be necessary." 

NYC mayor says surgical gowns urgently needed, thanks feds for masks

US-HEALTH-VIRUS
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has his temperature taken before he tours local companies that have teamed up to make thousands of protective hospital gowns at their Brooklyn Navy Yard facilities on April 6, 2020.Bryan R. Smith / AFP via Getty Images

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday the city "urgently" needed to find more surgical gowns. 

New York City hospitals and nursing homes used 1.8 million gowns last week, and are expected to use 2.5 million this week as coronavirus cases continue to rise.

Crye Precision, a combat apparel company, and Lafayette 148, a fashion company, will create about 9,200 reusable surgical gowns at the Brooklyn Navy Yard this week, de Blasio said following a tour of the facility, where the two firms are hard at work.

He said he was coordinating with the federal government to get more. He thanked President Donald Trump for sending 600,000 N95 masks for New York City's independent hospitals. He said 200,000 masks arrived for public hospitals on Friday.

A doodled look at some feel-good Google trends

RNC chairwoman says nationwide voting by mail would undermine democracy

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said Monday that the push by some Democrats for a nationwide vote-by-mail option amid the pandemic would undermine American democracy. 

McDaniel wrote in an op-ed published by Fox News that the GOP “will always defend free and fair elections” and that the party will “continue to fight and win against attempts by Democrats to use the pandemic as an excuse to circumvent election integrity.”

A number of Democrats including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden have suggested in recent days that voting by mail may need to be expanded for the 2020 elections amid the coronavirus outbreak. Congressional Democrats have been calling for increasing funding to states that would allow for such a scenario.

McDaniel argued that voting by mail would lead to an increase in fraud and weaken confidence in elections.

In a coronavirus contingency plan released in late March by the Brennan Center, one of the recommendations is extending mail-in ballots to all voters. According to MIT’s election data and science lab, there are very few documented instances of fraud related to voting by mail, though it says that some scholars argue voting by mail could lead to more fraud than in-person voting. 

U.K. Prime Minister tweets he is in 'good spirits' after hospitalization

Global Update: Early signs of a slowing death rate in Europe’s worst-hit countries

Austria plans to start easing coronavirus restrictions

Image: A man wearing a protective mask walks a dog on a shopping street during the global coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Vienna
A man walks a dog in Vienna on Monday. Lisi Niesner / Reuters

The Austrian government is planning to slowly re-open shops, hotels and restaurants as the country hopes to start returning to normal life amid the coronavirus pandemic.

At a press conference on Monday, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said the re-opening is being "cautiously planned" for after Easter, but the dates could still be moved depending on the spread of the virus. The country went into lockdown three weeks ago. 

Kurz said smaller shops will be allowed to resume their business after Easter, followed by larger shops, shopping malls and hairdressers, which are expected to re-open by May 1. At the end of this month, the government will decide if restaurants and hotels can reopen in mid-May, he added. 

At the same time, officials have extended a requirement to wear face masks in supermarkets to include public transport and shops that re-open. More than 12,000 coronavirus cases have been recorded in Austria, with 204 deaths. 

Signs of hope in Italy as daily death toll falls again

The number of daily coronavirus deaths in Italy fell to the lowest level in more than a week, as the head of the country's National Health Institute, Silvio Brusaferro, said that the number of deaths and infections "has reached a plateau and begun to descend.”

“It is a result that we have to achieve day after day. If this is confirmed, we need to start thinking about the second phase and keep down the spread of this disease,” said Brusaferro. The country recorded 525 deaths on Sunday, bringing its total toll to 15,887.

Italy's Health Minister Roberto Speranza issued a plan for "phase two" of coronavirus response, which would soften lockdown restrictions but still keep social distancing measures in place. Despite the positive news, Speranza warned it is too early to know when the country will exit lockdown, telling the Italian daily La Repubblica "there are difficult months ahead."

Trump health official on coronavirus: 'We may be seeing the worst upon us right now'

A top Trump administration health official, Adm. Brett P. Giroir, said Monday that several parts of the country including New York, New Jersey and Detroit are expected to hit their peaks this week in terms of the number of coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths. 

In an interview on NBC’s “TODAY” show, Giroir said "we may be seeing the worst upon us right now,” but added that that experts believe some areas are “turning a corner because of all of the physical distancing that we’re doing.” 

Giroir, the assistant secretary for health, said that other cities like New Orleans will hit their peaks in a few weeks. “We'll see some rolling peaks across the country as the next few weeks unfold,” he said, but warned that if people let their “foot off the gas,” then the situation could worsen.

Spain sees daily death toll drop for fourth day

Image: A plane from China arrives at Madrid airport Sunday with medical supplies on board to fight the coronavirus epidemic in Spain.
A plane from China arrives at Madrid airport Sunday with medical supplies on board to fight coronavirus in Spain. Getty Images

The number of new coronavirus deaths in Spain declined for the fourth day in a row on Monday, giving hope to the country’s health officials that the epidemic could be slowing down. 

A total of 637 new deaths were reported as of Sunday, the lowest number recorded since April 1, when Spain recorded 950 deaths, the highest one-day toll for any country since the start of the epidemic. 

"We are observing that the pandemic's growth rate is slowing down in almost every region," Maria Jose Sierra, deputy head of Spain’s Health Emergency Committee, told reporters at a virtual news conference Monday.

Health minister Salvador Illa said Monday the country, and the rest of the world, are facing "the worst health emergency in the past one hundred years."

The total number of coronavirus cases has reached more than 135,000 as of Sunday, the highest in Europe and second only to the U.S. 

U.N. chief warns of 'horrifying' surge in domestic violence amid lockdowns

The U.N. chief appealed to all governments to put women’s safety first as they respond to the coronavirus pandemic amid a "horrifying global surge" in domestic violence. 

"For many women and girls, the threat looms largest where they should be safest — in their own homes," Antonio Guterres said in a tweeted video Monday, asking for increased investment in online services for victims, declaring shelters as essential services and ensuring judicial systems continue to prosecute abusers. 

Reports of domestic violence increased in March in many cities across the U.S. as the coronavirus pandemic spread, according to law enforcement officials. In Europe, where a number countries are in strict lockdowns, women's rights groups have raised the alarm about the hardship that domestic violence victims can experience in lockdown conditions.

Government watchdog: Hospitals face severe shortages of medical gear, confusing guidance from government

Hospitals across the country face dire shortages of vital medical equipment amid the coronavirus outbreak — including testing kits and thermometers — and fear they can't ensure the safety of health care workers needed to treat patients with COVID-19, according to an internal government watchdog report released Monday.

The alarming findings, based on interviews conducted from March 23 to March 27, represent the first government assessment of how the country's hospitals are coping with the outbreak and confirm previous media reports and warnings from health workers that the medical system is under unprecedented strain.

Hospital administrators also said conflicting guidance from federal, state and local governments on how to use personal protective gear and other issues has led to "a greater sense of confusion, fear and distrust among staff that they can rely on hospital procedures to protect them," according to the report from the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS.

Read the full story here.

Japan to declare a state of emergency as early as Tuesday

Image: A man walks past a screen in Tokyo showing a news report that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to soon declare state of emergency on Monday.
A man walks past a screen in Tokyo showing a news report that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to soon declare state of emergency on Monday.Eugene Hoshiko / AP

Japan’s prime minister said Monday he could declare a state of emergency in Tokyo and six other prefectures as early as Tuesday, but not on the scale seen overseas, as the number or coronavirus cases continues to rise. 

Speaking to reporters, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he will not close cities “as we have seen overseas,” citing experts saying Japan will not have to adopt such measures. Public transportation will continue to operate and supermarkets will stay open, but the public will be asked to avoid crowded areas and close contact, he said. 

On Monday, the chairman of the Tokyo Medical Association, an independent body representing the city's doctors, said the capital, which has more than 1,000 cases, is in a “critical situation,” prompting them to declare their own medical state of emergency.

Iran's paramilitary women turn mosque into protective gear factory

Image: Iranian women, members of the Basij paramilitary organisation, make face masks and other protective items at a mosque in the capital Tehran on Sunday.
Iranian women, members of the Basij paramilitary organisation, make face masks and other protective items at a mosque in the capital Tehran on Sunday.Atta Kenare / AFP - Getty Images

'His Achilles' heel': Coronavirus crisis highlights Trump's lack of health care plan

Health care was already a vulnerability for President Donald Trump before the coronavirus pandemic hit. Now his lack of a plan to fix the system is coming under a new microscope as the crisis costs many Americans their coverage and overwhelms providers.

The clarity in Trump's health care vision begins and ends with repealing the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, also known as Obamacare. His budget proposals would strip away funding for the law, and he has endorsed a lawsuit to wipe it off the books. But the president hasn't thrown his weight behind a replacement bill or even an outline, and he has rejected calls to reopen Obamacare for enrollment during the current crisis.

Trump's focus on mitigating the economic damage has kept health care on the back burner. Some allies worry that with millions of newly unemployed Americans poised to lose coverage during a public health crisis, Trump's lack of a plan for the needy will be a political liability in his re-election bid.

Read the full story.

Irish PM returns to work as a doctor to help in coronavirus crisis

Image: Ireland's Prime Minister Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at a news conference on March 24.
Ireland's Prime Minister Leo Varadkar at a coronavirus news conference on March 24.Steve Humphreys / Reuters file

It’s back to his scrubs for Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar. The former doctor re-registered as a medical practitioner last month to help the country's healthcare system as it deals with the coronavirus epidemic, his office said Sunday.

Varadkar will work for the health service for one session a week “in areas that are within his scope of practice,” a statement from his office said. 

"He wanted to help out even in a small way," the statement added. According to a report in the Irish Times, Varadkar is helping out with phone assessments of coronavirus patients. 

Governors plead for food stamp flexibility

Yvonne Knight, who has respiratory problems that make her especially vulnerable in the coronavirus pandemic, can't buy groceries online with her food stamps, even though each trip to the store is now a risky endeavor.

Going out to buy food terrifies the 38-year-old woman with cerebral palsy, but she is one of millions of people who receive food aid through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that can't be used in flexible ways. “Every time I go out, I put myself at risk — and other people,” said Knight, who lives in Erie, Pennsylvania. 

Buying groceries online — which many Americans are doing to reduce how often they leave their homes — is only open to SNAP recipients in six U.S. states, and Pennsylvania is not one of them.

Now, state governments and food security activists across the country are imploring the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make the program more flexible and easier to access at a time when so many people are losing their jobs and turning to the government for support.

Duran Duran's John Taylor reveals coronavirus recovery

John Taylor
John Taylor of Duran Duran, shown last year, said Sunday he is recovering from COVID-19.Amy Harris / Amy Harris/Invision/AP

LOS ANGELES — Duran Duran bassist John Taylor took to Facebook on Sunday to reveal he had tested positive for coronavirus and is on the mend. Taylor was diagnosed with COVID-19 "three weeks ago" and has been self-quarantining.

"I am speaking out to answer to the enormous amount of fear being generated by the pandemic, some of it entirely justified, and my heart goes out to everyone who has had to deal with real loss and pain," he wrote. "But I want to let you know that it isn't always a killer, and we can and will beat this thing."

The entertainment community has been rocked by the virus, having recently lost Fountains of Wayne's Adam Schlesinger, country star Joe Diffie and jazz musician Ellis Marsalis Jr., among others.

Stocks appear set to jump, with Dow futures up more than 500 points

U.S. stock futures rose Sunday night as Wall Street tried to recover from another decline last week while investors shook off rising tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures traded 531 points higher, implying a gain of about 565 points at the Monday open. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures also pointed to Monday opening gains for the two indexes.

Last week, the major averages posted their third weekly decline in four. The Dow slid 2.7% while the S&P 500 lost 2.1%. The Nasdaq Composite closed last week down 1.7%. Stocks are also deep in bear-market territory as concerns over the coronavirus outbreak have virtually shut down the global economy and have dampened sentiment around corporate profits. 

Read the full story here. 

California county orders people to wear face coverings outside

Public health officials in Riverside County, California, made it mandatory Sunday for people who go outside to wear face coverings to stem the spread of coronavirus.

Dr. Cameron Kaiser, the county's public health officer, said people could use bandanas, scarves and other items without visible holes in them to shield their faces. He cautioned against using industrial and surgical masks, saying they should be reserved for first responders.

The order came after 30 patients and staff members at a local nursing home tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, according to NBC Los Angeles. Two deputies have also died from the disease, Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco said in a statement.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged Americans on Friday to wear face coverings to keep people who may not be showing symptoms of the disease from spreading it to others.